Page 1

December 24-30, 2009

Issue 40

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Q. Why was a mistletoe hanging above the luggage scale at the airport check-in? A. So passengers could kiss their luggage good-bye.



This week, Tidbits says, ÒWell, that’s about the long and short of it!Ó and looks at a little of both. • Nestled along the slopes of Mount Niesen in the Swiss Alps is the longest staircase in the world. Its 11,674 steps run alongside a cable railway and are not open to the public, but are used only by service personnel. However, on one day every June, 200 lucky people run the route in the annual Niesenlauf stair run. The race goes on whatever the weather or visibility may be. The record-holder has a race time of just over an hour. Compare this run to the stairs of the Empire State Building – the number of steps at Mount Niesen is equal to climbing the building more than seven times! • If you’re a fan of yard sales, you might want to catch the world’s longest one, held the first weekend every August. This four-day event was created by Tennessee tourism officials to get people off the highways and into this very scenic area. The row of vendors stretches from Gadsden, Alabama to West Unity, Ohio, a distance of 654 miles, and features as many as 5,000 booths along the way. • In January of 2008, Robert Davis climbed on his Yamaha snowmobile, and over the next 60 days, traversed across Maine and eastern Canada. Davis logged 12,163 miles on his trip, giving him the longest snowmobile journey title. It took Russian Vasilii Hazkevich a little longer to drive his tractor just a little farther, 13,172 miles. He made his trip in 103 days. Another adventuresome traveler went even a little farther on his riding lawn mower, a distance of 14,594 miles. Gary Hatter started in Maine and didn’t quit until he’d been in all 48 mainland states, Canada, and Mexico, a feat that covered 260 days. turn the page for more!

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Your Money in 2010 Along with making resolutions, the new year is a good time to plan how you'll handle your money in 2010. Start by reviewing your savings goal from a year ago. Did you reach that goal? Tough as it can be to save, increasing your efforts to put money away can be a lifesaver should you become unemployed or in case of an emergency. Review your rates on CDs that are coming due and research where you'll put your money next. Interest rates on CDs are extremely poor nowadays, but every dollar counts. Try not to lock in for more than six months. Look at your credit-card balances. Which ones are you close to paying off, perhaps within six months? Can you double up on your payments (assuming you're not continuing to make charges on the cards) and get them paid off faster? Remember not to cancel the card when you've brought the balance down to zero. Your credit score will suffer for it, as it takes away from your percentage of available credit. Just let the card sit there unused, or perhaps make one charge now and then and pay it off when the bill comes. Review your credit score and take steps to get it to 740 or higher, or to keep it there if it's already over that number. Those with higher credit scores can benefit by getting better interest rates on loans. Remember that you can get a free copy of your credit reports each year. Check for errors. If you have children who earn an allowance or money from odd jobs, start them off with a passbook savings account. You'll likely have to be a co-signer on the account, which ensures that they can't empty the account without your presence and approval. Be sure that the account won't be subject to fees. Giving to charity takes planning to make sure your money goes where you intend. Research your intended charities at the two top charity Web sites: GuideStar ( and Charity Navigator ( If you volunteer at a non-profit organization, keep track of your expenses and mileage. Those could be deductible on your taxes.

David Uffington regrets that he cannot personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to

(c) 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.


386-931-8989 LOONG AND SHORT (continued): •

An Illinois bloodhound named Tigger boasts the longest ears on a dog, measuring 13.75 inches on the right side and 13.5 inches on the left.

• At the 2003 American Rabbit Breeders As-sociation National Show, an English Lop bunny named Nipper’s Geronimo grabbed the title of longest rabbit ears, with a winning measurement of 31.125 inches. • Stretching 1.24 miles across Japan’s Akashi Strait is the world’s longest suspension bridge, the Akashi Kaikyo, or Pearl Bridge. Prior to its completion in 1998, people traveled on ferry boats from Kobe on the mainland to Awaji Island. However, after 168 children were killed in two separate ferry accidents, the Japanese government made the decision to build the bridge. • It took Cuban cigar maker Jose Cairo six days to roll the world’s longest cigar, measuring nearly 149 feet. The stogie snaked through a room and out the windows of an old fort near Cuba’s Havana Bay. This feat, accomplished in 2008, was the fourth Guinness record achieved by Cairo. • Xie Oiuping began growing her hair when she was 13 years old, and 31 years later it had reached a length of nearly 18 and a half feet.

• Tony Collins spent 77.5 hours on a hospital gurney in Britain’s Princess Margaret Hospital waiting for someone to pay attention to his virus. He checked in at the front desk on a Saturday at 3:00 PM and wasn’t given a bed until Tuesday at 8:30 PM. And if once were not enough, at a later date when this diabetic patient fell ill again, he waited 60 hours on the gurney during that trip! • It should be no surprise that Alaska has the longest coastline of any U.S. state, with 6,640 miles of waterfront. Florida is a distant second with 1,350 miles and California in third place with 840 miles.

Tidbits of Flagler& E. Volusia 12/24-30/09 PAGE 3

1. Is the book of Acts in the Old or New Testament or neither? 2. In 1 Kings 20, who besieged and made war against Samaria after gathering his forces? Benhadad, Menahem, Rezin, Omri

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3. What king asked for the help of a woman who was a medium? Jehu, Amaziah, Saul, Neco 4. From 1 Samuel 19, whose life was saved when his wife put an image into his bed? Samson, David, Amon, Cyrus 5. Who was the father of Elkanah? Jeremiah, Philip, Esau, Jeroham 6. From Esther 1, how many days did Ahasuerus' feast last? 2, 4, 7, 10

ANSWERS: 1) New; 2) Benhadad; 3) Saul; 4) David; 5) Jeroham; 6) 7 For more trivia, log on to (c) 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.

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2 (6 ounces each) white turnips (optional), peeled and chopped 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped 2 stalks celery, finely chopped 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 package (16 ounces) dry split peas, rinsed and picked through 2 (1 1/2 pounds) smoked ham hocks 8 cups water 1 bay leaf 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1. In 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil over medium high heat. Add turnips, if using, carrots, celery and onion; cook, stirring frequently, until carrots are tender-crisp, about 10 minutes. Add split peas, ham hocks, water, bay leaf, salt and allspice; heat to boiling over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 45 minutes. 2. Discard bay leaf. Transfer ham hocks to cutting board; discard skin and bones. Finely chop meat. Return meat to soup. Heat through. Makes 11 cups or 6 main-dish servings. Each serving: About 343 calories, 7g total fat (1g saturated), 3mg cholesterol, 1,174mg sodium, 52g total carbohydrate, 21g protein. For thousands of triple-tested recipes, visit our Web site at

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Tidbits of Flagler& E. Volusia 12/24-30/09 PAGE 5 Surprise Gift Box #196

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Ÿ "To keep my shower curtain from blowing around at the bottom, I used clear packing tape to attach a few large washers along the bottom edge. They weigh down the plastic so it hangs straight." -- T.V. in Maryland

Ÿ To make a temporary draft buster for a drafty door or windowsill, roll a small bath towel and secure with safety pins or tuck it into the leg of a pair of pantyhose or tights. Then lay it along the crack at the door or on the windowsill. Install proper weatherstripping as soon as you can.

Ÿ "If you like chunk cheese, use this tip to keep it from molding: Wrap it very tightly in plastic wrap, then cover with aluminum foil. No light and no air!" -- a Reader, via e-mail

Ÿ Finally found: A fantastic cure for foggy windows. Get a chalkboard eraser, which can be found at an office-supply store, and keep it in your car. When windows fog up and you can't wait for the defroster, use the chalkboard eraser. It works better than a cloth and is easy to hold in your hand.

Ÿ "I stapled a plastic six-pack holder (the plastic rings that hold the cans together) to the inside of the door of my closet. I use the loops to hold light scarves and occasionally a belt. It's really handy." -- V.E. in Indiana

Ÿ "I had a couple of really beautiful wall calendars last year. To save some of the nicest pictures, I had them laminated. They make great placemats for snacks." -- S.D. in Arizona

Send your tips to Now Here's a Tip, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475 or email JoAnn at

(c) 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.

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SPORTS QUIZ By Chris Richcreek 1. Only one player hit 50 or more home runs in a season during the decade of the '70s. Name him. 2. Which combination of brothers hit more combined major-league home runs: Jose and Ozzie Canseco or Carlos and Lee May? 3. Before winning the Hawaii Bowl in 2008, Notre Dame's football team held an NCAA record for the longest bowl losing streak. How many games was it? 4. True or false: Robert Horry, the leader in NBA postseason games played, reached the playoffs in all 16 of his NBA seasons. 5. How many times did Jeremy Roenick tally 50 or more goals for a season during his 20-year NHL career? 6. In which Olympic year did the U.S. men's basketball team win its first gold medal? 7. When Bobby Jones won golf's grand slam in 1930, what four events did he win?

Answers 1. George Foster had 52 for Cincinnati in 1977. 2. The Cansecos had 462; the Mays had 444. 3. Nine straight bowl games. 4. True. 5. Twice, for Chicago in 1991-92 and 1992-93. 6. It was 1936. 7. The U.S. and British Opens and the U.S. and British Amateurs. (c) 2009 King Features Synd., Inc.

Tidbits of Flagler and E. Volusia  

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